Obama administration slaps more sanctions on North Korea for Sony hack

The Obama administration took the first official action by the US government in response to North Korea's suspected role in the hack of Sony Corporation by imposing a range of sanctions on North Korean leaders and companies.

Some of the targets of the sanctions are already under restrictions as a result of their involvement in North Korea's nuclear program.

Fox News:

Despite lingering questions from private security analysts over whether North Korea was responsible for the hack -- as the FBI has alleged -- the White House described the new sanctions as retaliation against Pyongyang. 

"We take seriously North Korea's attack that aimed to create destructive financial effects on a U.S. company and to threaten artists and other individuals with the goal of restricting their right to free expression," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement. "As the president has said, our response to North Korea's attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment will be proportional, and will take place at a time and in a manner of our choosing. Today's actions are the first aspect of our response." 

An executive order signed by President Obama authorizes sanctions against agencies and officials associated with the North Korean government and Workers' Party of Korea. Obama, in the order, cited North Korea's "provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions and policies ... including its destructive, coercive cyber-related actions during November and December 2014." 

The Treasury Department, in turn, designated three government-tied entities and 10 North Korean officials under those sanctions. The sanctions would deny them access to the U.S. financial system and bar them from entering the U.S. 

The department does not name North Korean leader Kim Jong-un but does designate representatives of the government stationed in Russia, Iran and Syria, among others. It also names North Korea's primary intelligence organization, its primary arms dealer and an organization that deals with technology procurement called the Korea Tangun Trading Corporation. 

North Korea is already subject to other U.S. sanctions over its nuclear program. 

Some of those targeted by Friday's actions are already subject to sanctions. Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called for stronger measures.

“It’s good to see the Administration challenging North Korea’s latest aggression - cyberattacks that can do grave damage,” he said in a statement. “But many of the North Koreans blacklisted today have already been targeted by U.S. sanctions.  We need to go further to sanction those financial institutions in Asia and beyond that are supporting the brutal and dangerous North Korean regime, as was done in 2005. “

It's hard to develop an effective sanctions regime when you have very little trade with the target country and the country in question has very little contact with the outside world. But those named in the action have privileges far beyond those of an ordinary North Korean. The upper echelons of the North Korean leadership can travel whenever they want, to wherever they wish to go, for any reason. Most often, those reasons include shopping sprees in western countries and other decadent pursuits.

The sanctions should make it harder for the elites to get hard currency, which fuels their drive for luxury goods unavailable in North Korea. Beyond that, the sanctions amount to little more than an inconvenience, as the North's vast network of illegal activities will make sure those named in the sanctions have very little to worry about.

Thomas Lifson adds:

Daniel Greenfield of Front Page Magazine is troubled by the same thing that bothers me about President Obama’s standard for sanctions here:

Here he’s fine with jumping to conclusions. Meanwhile a Muslim driving a flying camel filled with explosives into a 4th of July parade while shouting, “I’m doing this because I’m Muslim and hate non-Muslims” would just result in another lecture about jumping to conclusions. (snip)

“We take seriously North Korea’s attack that aimed to create destructive financial effects on a U.S. company and to threaten artists and other individuals with the goal of restricting their right to free expression,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.

So it’s also a different standard when it comes to protecting donors in Hollywood. Not surprising from the most corrupt administration in American history without a Clinton in its name.

I don’t have access to all the intell then president does, but North Korea certainly does make for a better whipping boy than jihadists, for who the president seems to have a soft spot in his heart.

The Obama administration took the first official action by the US government in response to North Korea's suspected role in the hack of Sony Corporation by imposing a range of sanctions on North Korean leaders and companies.

Some of the targets of the sanctions are already under restrictions as a result of their involvement in North Korea's nuclear program.

Fox News:

Despite lingering questions from private security analysts over whether North Korea was responsible for the hack -- as the FBI has alleged -- the White House described the new sanctions as retaliation against Pyongyang. 

"We take seriously North Korea's attack that aimed to create destructive financial effects on a U.S. company and to threaten artists and other individuals with the goal of restricting their right to free expression," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement. "As the president has said, our response to North Korea's attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment will be proportional, and will take place at a time and in a manner of our choosing. Today's actions are the first aspect of our response." 

An executive order signed by President Obama authorizes sanctions against agencies and officials associated with the North Korean government and Workers' Party of Korea. Obama, in the order, cited North Korea's "provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions and policies ... including its destructive, coercive cyber-related actions during November and December 2014." 

The Treasury Department, in turn, designated three government-tied entities and 10 North Korean officials under those sanctions. The sanctions would deny them access to the U.S. financial system and bar them from entering the U.S. 

The department does not name North Korean leader Kim Jong-un but does designate representatives of the government stationed in Russia, Iran and Syria, among others. It also names North Korea's primary intelligence organization, its primary arms dealer and an organization that deals with technology procurement called the Korea Tangun Trading Corporation. 

North Korea is already subject to other U.S. sanctions over its nuclear program. 

Some of those targeted by Friday's actions are already subject to sanctions. Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called for stronger measures.

“It’s good to see the Administration challenging North Korea’s latest aggression - cyberattacks that can do grave damage,” he said in a statement. “But many of the North Koreans blacklisted today have already been targeted by U.S. sanctions.  We need to go further to sanction those financial institutions in Asia and beyond that are supporting the brutal and dangerous North Korean regime, as was done in 2005. “

It's hard to develop an effective sanctions regime when you have very little trade with the target country and the country in question has very little contact with the outside world. But those named in the action have privileges far beyond those of an ordinary North Korean. The upper echelons of the North Korean leadership can travel whenever they want, to wherever they wish to go, for any reason. Most often, those reasons include shopping sprees in western countries and other decadent pursuits.

The sanctions should make it harder for the elites to get hard currency, which fuels their drive for luxury goods unavailable in North Korea. Beyond that, the sanctions amount to little more than an inconvenience, as the North's vast network of illegal activities will make sure those named in the sanctions have very little to worry about.

Thomas Lifson adds:

Daniel Greenfield of Front Page Magazine is troubled by the same thing that bothers me about President Obama’s standard for sanctions here:

Here he’s fine with jumping to conclusions. Meanwhile a Muslim driving a flying camel filled with explosives into a 4th of July parade while shouting, “I’m doing this because I’m Muslim and hate non-Muslims” would just result in another lecture about jumping to conclusions. (snip)

“We take seriously North Korea’s attack that aimed to create destructive financial effects on a U.S. company and to threaten artists and other individuals with the goal of restricting their right to free expression,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.

So it’s also a different standard when it comes to protecting donors in Hollywood. Not surprising from the most corrupt administration in American history without a Clinton in its name.

I don’t have access to all the intell then president does, but North Korea certainly does make for a better whipping boy than jihadists, for who the president seems to have a soft spot in his heart.